Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Effects of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) on Swimmers Leg Mobility and Performance

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Effects of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) on Swimmers Leg Mobility and Performance

Article excerpt


In swimming there are different warm up combined protocols in and out of water. The most of these combinations includes stretching exercises and swimming in different volumes and intensities. About the volumes and intensities of a warm up protocol found that a moderate level of these two parameters gives better results than a low or high volume and intensity level in swimming performance (Neiva et al., 2014a) and in 100m maximal freestyle effort (Neiva et al., 2014b). On the other hand a few studies show the effects of a warm up combination in and out of water. These combinations related especially the kick performance, with positive effects after the use of a warm up protocol with stretching and swimming content (Mookerjee et al., 1995 ; Olbrecht et al., 1985) . While a unique study Papadimitriou et al., 2015) found that only static stretching, without any warm up in water, can't improve 50m in maximal effort freestyle swimming performance. So an interesting part for study is the effectiveness or not of stretching exercises in acute effect as a warm up protocol or as a way to improve joints flexibility and swimming performance after chronic use.

Generally, a preheating method in sports is the area of stretching exercises. Most used stretching exercises have the dynamic type that includes swings and generally explosive and quick movements. Another type of stretching is the static. Static stretching includes active, passive, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) and other more (Grosser et al., 2007). It is worth noting that the type of PNF stretching is used for joint and muscle stabilization and strengthening (Minshull et al., 2014). It is also a common technique in the field of physical therapy, is used to improve the articular mobility (Anastasiadis, & Gidaris, 1993). It consists of three phases starting with isometric pressure at 20% of maximum voluntary strength (Rubini eat al., 2013), for 7 - 10 seconds with a maximum duration of 30 seconds, and then practitioner relaxes the joint which accepted the pressure and the final phase which is the stretching of muscle with pressure from fellow practitioners, for 10-30 seconds (Grosser et al., 2007).

The PNF technique is used both in sports and clinical environment with a number of positive effects on the increase of joint range of motion (Kay et al., 2015 ; Konrad et al., 2015 ; Mitchell et al., 2009), PNF is one of the most effective stretching techniques (Grosser et al., 2007). Repeatability once or twice a week is sufficient to achieve adaptations. Although, the most of the studies about PNF technique are considered the most effective compared with the other stretching techniques, there are few investigations do not confirm this effectiveness (Place et al., 2013). Also, the mechanisms operating in the PNF method are not clear yet (Sharman et al., 2006). Research to identify the mechanisms of PNF found to be due to inactivation of presynaptic neuronal muscle command rather than Golgi apparatus, observing a relaxation of the muscle after the isometric contraction (Chalmers, 2004). It is clear that further research need to clarify these mechanisms Hindle et al., 2012).

Few studies mention about the effects of PNF on athlete's leg mobility and performance. In football, the PNF effects examined from the ankle and hip range of motion and from the execution of speed shots in 24 amateur teenage footballers (Akbulut and Agopyan, 2015). From the results showed that only the group which conducted the type PNF stretching exercises improved the range of motion on joints of the lower limbs and the execution of speed shots.

In the sport of gymnastics in 18 athletes sample were compared static and PNF stretching method, on vibration platform to determine if mobility of the lower limbs and the force by jumping from semi seat and swing improved. The results showed significant process using PNF. The improvement was almost 6,8 % and PNF was the best stretching method (Dallas et al. …

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